We receive information about special prices or unusual trips all the time. How do we decide that something is special enough to tell you about? First, we are driven by price. We think that everybody would like to know about bargains. Our decision about which prices are good enough to bother with is somewhat subjective. If it looks good to us, maybe it will to you too.

The other issue is whether a particular trip is unique - the price is what it is but the trip is a special experience.

American River Cruising

Cruising America's rivers was a popular activity five or six years ago. Then seveal companies went out of business. In 2012 we saw the return of the paddlewheel steamer from two companies - American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines. Their two ships concentrate mostly on the Mississippi and Ohio river systems.

American Cruise Lines ship is called the Queen of the Mississippi. She is a new built paddlewheel steamer with the largest cabins of any river ship (most all are 220 sq ft or more). For a flyer on their cruises CLICK HERE.

American Queen Steamboat Company operates the American Queen which was part of the Delta Queen fleet of ships. It has been extensively refurbished with great attention to maintaining the authenticity of the paddlewheel steamers of the 1800's. Many of their itineraries are enhanced by themes - music, culture, history - the list is long and interesting. For more information CLICK HERE

Villa Stays

Considering a family reunion? Thinking of getting away with a small group of friends? The kind of group for which you might plan a cruise? Take a minute to explore a luxury villa vacation.

First, by luxury villas we mean homes like you see in House Beautiful. Locations are all over the world - beach homes in the Caribbean, country mansions in Provence, modern architectural designs in Spain. There are even homes in US resort areas.

All are set up for full housekeeping with fully stocked kitchens. Most include maid service, some come with a chef who prepares two meals a day, many are located in rural areas but near many tourist attractions. Some include a host who acts as a local concierge, others offer a guide book detailing local sights, restaurants, and other resources such as grocery and drug stores.

At first glance (when you look at some of these properties (see below) your reaction might well be "too expensive". If you look a little closer, you will see that prices from $3000 to $4500 per room per week ($1500 to $2200 per person) are common. Compare that to a cruise in a nice cabin - easily $2000 per person. Or a river cruise at over $3000 per person.

Villas can be configured to match your group - 2 to 12 bedrooms. All bedrooms with en suite baths if that seems important. The best way to think about this is to explore some examples:

In our opinion, the best and most complete site for exploring villa option is Villas of Distinction.  To conduct your own search just CLICK HERE.

Cultural Cruises

What is a cultural cruise? Our definition is one that offers a more than normal immersion in the culture, art, music, and history of the areas visited. We follow specials on three cruise lines that we feel meet the "cultural cruise" criteria.

Voyages of Discovery - has a single ship, MV Discovery that sails around the world. It is a small ship - just 700 passengers - which allows it to call on ports often off limits to the "big" ships. Every voyage includes a distinguished collection of lecturers who speak on a wide range of topics. Learn more...

Voyages to Antiquity - specializes in the history of the Mediterranean and operates a single 350 passenger ship, The Aegean Odyssey. They include shore excursions and have a staff of archeology and history students to help with trips ashore. Their lecturers are drawn from historians and authors that specialize in ancient and current history of the area.  Learn more...

Swan Hellenic - also has a 350 passenger ship, The MV Minerva. They also cruise around the world, offer free shore excursions, and a host of guest lecturers. Learn more...

Travel Dynamics International - have several ships in the Mediterranean and one ship in the United States. They count among their clientele many pretigious universities and museums. They are clearly the leader of the group when it comes to the quality of their lecturers and programs. It also means that they are among the most expensive in this group.

Choosing Specials

We hear about special prices every day. To be included here we do look for a few things.

First, is it a significant savings. A free umbrella drink when you board the ship doesn't compare to 2 for 1 pricing or free air to Europe.

Second, is timing. If we hear about a bargain to fill a space on a cruise leaving next week, it doesn't seem worth it to put it here. No one would be able see it in time to do something about it.


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Signature Specials

Clicking here will open access to all of Signature's amazing specials.

Specials on what?

We probably hear about cruise specials more often than any other sort but there are special opportunities with tours and destination stays from time to time.

Just look down the list for something that might interest you. We do offer a service to you if you have a particular interest - a river cruise in Europe or a tour of Spain. Let us know your particular interest and we will contact you directly whenever we see something that fits.

Food and Travel

We have a complete site dedicated to travel specializing in Food and Wine.  CLICK HERE to review cruises, tours, and destination information.  Don't miss the video tab - the videos are really great!